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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lefty's Lowdown: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
(Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Published: August 14, 2014 by Dutton
Source: Purchased (in Ireland--how cool is that!)
Summary from Goodreads: 
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
I was in a pretty bad slump before reading this book. I'm happy to say that Stephanie Perkins brought me out of that with Isla and the Happily Ever After. I basically spent all my time thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it, and it made me remember just how beautiful reading is. It had been a while since I read the other two books in this series, so I forgot just how wonderful Stephanie Perkins is! I fell in love with the characters she created, the love story she wove, and her writing. 

One thing I really loved about this reading experience was the different settings that Perkins takes us to. This gem takes place mostly in Paris and the Paris boarding school that we read about in Anna and the French Kiss, but we're also taken to Manhattan (the city my heart belongs to) and Barcelona. It's so much fun to read about these vastly different cities, to watch the characters explore them and fall in love in them. She describes them so beautifully and makes me want to go see the different historical landmarks for myself. My wanderlust was definitely intensified after reading this novel.

And of course there are the characters. I challenge you to read a Stephanie Perkins novel and not fall in love with the characters. We're introduced to Isla and Josh, who both had me practically cackling out loud as I was reading. They're funny and do their best to be kind, but they're flawed and they're real. I cannot stress enough how real Perkins's characters are. I loved getting to know their backgrounds, their insecurities, their quirks, their complicated relationships with others. But what's even better is that it's not only the main characters that she gives so much life to. We also get to know the secondary characters pretty well. Isla's best friend, Kurt, has autism and he has trouble understanding jokes, sarcasm, and some social protocols. He loves routine and maps. He was just a really interesting character to read about and I loved seeing him grow throughout the novel. I became emotionally invested in all of these characters and could not stop turning the pages to see how their stories played out. 

Last but not least: the romance. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Isla and Josh together. Every time they kissed I got butterflies. However, the romance is the one place in this book that I have issues with. Isla and Josh's relationship happened pretty quickly (not insta-love, though) and it was intense. Some people might not like that, but I did. I also loved the way they complemented each other and the way that they obviously wanted to make each other happy. It was all very adorable and made me wish for a relationship like theirs. What I didn't love is when Isla got super obsessive. I can't say much without revealing spoilers, but I will say there came a point where she revolved her life around Josh. She was thinking about him non-stop and always waiting on his calls. It was a little too New Moon for me. That was only a brief portion of the novel, though. Before that, I shipped Isla and Josh soooo hard. After that, when things were resolved, I shipped Isla and Josh soooo hard. It just made me lose a wee bit of respect for Isla. 

Guys, I am so happy I read this book. I liked that it was light and fun but still complex. I liked becoming attached to the characters and remembering what it is like to seek solace in fiction. 

Rating:
4/5

2 comments:

  1. I still need to try this series! It looks amazing. Great review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have read the first two books in the series a little over a month ago and I really loved them both! I didn't like romances too much before I read those books, so they make me happy now :) I can't wait to continue and finish off the series!

    My recent review: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/11/the-anatomical-shape-of-heart-review.html

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I have to say and give your opinion on it. It really means a lot to me. And of course, I will do my best to return the favor. However, as easily distracted and scatter-brained as I am, please don't be offended if I forget to comment on your blog.